I have had work published which means it’s been read and appreciated and considered good, more than good. But why do I find it so hard to say that I’m a writer? ‘Only little things’ I’ll say.
I have all my children’s certificates, bygone letters and cards received, notices in newspapers of their achievements preserved in several boxes and books. If asked I will be more than happy to talk about what they’ve done, what they’ve achieved. Whereas even when setting up this website, finding my own publications wasn’t easy. One I seem to have thrown away and I had to buy another copy.
It’s time to take this more seriously. I am a published author, and not just by me.
Why has it taken me so long to crawl out from under this weighty stone? Is it lack of expectation from when I was a child, a girl, that to talk of oneself was considered boasting, confidence crushed? No, that’s an excuse I can no longer use. I have enough people encouraging me to believe and say, I’m an author.
In my late forties to be a student was as if a light shone on me; what I could do, what I could find out? There was the excitement of the grade and remarks at the end of my first essay for the degree; to be told that I was on the right track, was joyous. I remember driving home, travelling down Brandy Hole Lane, the trees tingeing up for autumn, and I was the centre of it all. Later an overheard remark about a phrase I’d used, ‘a galaxy suburb’, being praised; a short story appreciated at a writer’s conference, ‘Feathers’; the request to publish two of my poems by Michael Benton and later to be commissioned to write more by Hodder & Stoughton. Poetry and short stories chosen for anthologies, an agent wanting to take my novels to publishers, and the M.A. in Creative Writing with Distinction; surely I can say I’m an author.
Hiding your light? A character trait? Where you are placed in a family, first born or last? Lack of praise in childhood? All or none of these. Is this a women’s issue?
‘Modesty used to be considered a natural female attribute. No more.’
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